Given the trouble we’ve witnessed with bird flu around the globe this winter, I’m beginning to think Daphne du Maurier may have been onto something . . . .
In any event, Nigeria’s bird flu woes continue, with a statement from their Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, indicating that the number of states affected has now grown to 11.
This is an increase of 4 states over the last statement, released on the 21st. As there are some areas of Nigeria not under good government control, it is possible that other states are affected, but are not included in their surveillance and reporting.
The following announcement appears in the Nigeria’s Punch.
The Federal Government on Wednesday said the H5N1 influenza virus, also known as bird flu, is now present in 11 states in Nigeria.
It confirmed the presence of the virus in four other states apart from the seven states earlier reported on January 22, 2015.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, outlined the additional states to include Oyo, Jigawa, Gombe and Imo.
He said the total number of birds exposed had risen to 232,385 with 51,444 mortalities recorded.
While Nigeria saw outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry, and at least 1 human infection (see Nigeria Confirms Human Bird Flu Case), during the middle of the last decade - this current outbreak is the first reported since 2008.
It is easy to see how avian influenza ends up in west central Africa.
When you look at a map of the migratory bird flyways (see below), you see that Nigeria sits at the southern intersection of no fewer than three migratory flyways. Routes that begin in the northern climes of Russia, Mongolia, and China where H5N1 is known to circulate in wild birds – and that cross both Europe and the Middle East.
As far as the prospects of H5N1 turning up in other central African nations – like Niger, Mali, or Chad - the odds are that it already has.
But without surveillance, testing and reporting, we just never hear about it.